Which taxes should the city raise to pay for schools?

Shhh! Be very quiet. We’re trying to get a good look at the realty transfer tax – it’s only seen when someone buys or sells property. You can see it just through that brush …

Welcome to It’s Our Money’s Wild Tax Safari. Last week, the mayor and City Council proposed several tax hikes, including a new tax on sugary drinks, to raise money for the troubled School District. We decided to take a tour through the jungle of taxes Philadelphians already pay, to see where this tax would fit in.

We’ll see common taxes like the wage tax and the sales tax. We’ll see the strange real estate tax, which is based on property assessments that have little relationship to market value. We’ll see hotel taxes and rental car taxes, which are clearly aimed at people who don’t vote in Philadelphia. And we’ll see “sin taxes” that aim to raise revenue and discourage behavior at the same time.

If we’re unlucky, we’ll even see some fees for licenses and permits, like the $20 fee Philadelphians pay to have a block party.

Join us on our journey …

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